Severe maternal outcomes in eastern Ethiopia: Application of the adapted maternal near miss tool.

BACKGROUND:
With the reduction of maternal mortality, maternal near miss (MNM) has been used as a complementary indicator of maternal health. The objective of this study was to assess the frequency of MNM in eastern Ethiopia using an adapted sub-Saharan Africa MNM tool and compare its applicability with the original WHO MNM tool.

METHODS:
We applied the sub-Saharan Africa and WHO MNM criteria to 1054 women admitted with potentially life-threatening conditions (including 28 deaths) in Hiwot Fana Specialized University Hospital and Jugel Hospital between January 2016 and April 2017. Discharge records were examined to identify deaths or women who developed MNM according to the sub-Saharan or WHO criteria. We calculated and compared MNM and severe maternal outcome ratios. Mortality index (ratio of maternal deaths to SMO) was calculated as indicator of quality of care.

RESULTS:
The sub-Saharan Africa criteria identified 594 cases of MNM and all the 28 deaths while the WHO criteria identified 128 cases of MNM and 26 deaths. There were 7404 livebirths during the same period. This gives MNM ratios of 80 versus 17 per 1000 live births for the adapted and original WHO criteria. Mortality index was 4.5% and 16.9% in the adapted and WHO criteria respectively. The major difference between the two criteria can be attributed to eclampsia, sepsis and differences in the threshold for transfusion of blood.

CONCLUSION:
The sub-Saharan Africa criteria identified all the MNM cases identified by the WHO criteria and all the maternal deaths. Applying the WHO criteria alone will cause under reporting of MNM cases (including maternal deaths) in this low-resource setting. The mortality index of 4.5% among women who fulfilled the adapted MNM criteria justifies labeling these women as having ‘life-threatening conditions’.

The lucky ones get cured: Health care seeking among women with pelvic organ prolapse in Amhara Region, Ethiopia.

Abstract
BACKGROUND:
The majority of women suffering from maternal morbidities live in resource-constrained settings with diverse barriers preventing access to quality biomedical health care services. This study aims to highlight the dynamics between the public health system and alternative healing through an exploration of the experiences of health care seeking among women living with severe symptomatic pelvic organ prolapse in an impoverished setting.

METHODS:
The data were collected through ethnographic fieldwork at the hospital and community levels in the Amhara region of Ethiopia. The fieldwork included participant observation, 42 semi-structured interviews and two focus group discussions over a period of one year. A group of 24 women with severe symptomatic pelvic organ prolapse served as the study’s main informants. Other central groups of informants included health care providers, local healers and actors from the health authorities and non-governmental organisations.

RESULTS:
Three case stories were chosen to illustrate the key findings related to health care seeking among the informants. The women strove to find remedies for their aggravating ailment, and many navigated between and combined various available healing options both within and beyond the health care sector. Their choices were strongly influenced by poverty, by lack of knowledge about the condition, by their religious and spiritual beliefs and by the shame and embarrassment related to the condition. An ongoing health campaign in the study area providing free surgical treatment for pelvic organ prolapse enabled a study of the experiences related to the introduction of free health services targeting maternal morbidity.

CONCLUSIONS:
This study highlights how structural barriers prevent women living in a resource-constrained setting from receiving health care for a highly prevalent and readily treatable maternal morbidity such as pelvic organ prolapse. Our results illustrate that the provision of free quality services may dramatically alter both health-and illness-related perceptions and conduct in an extremely vulnerable population.

Diagnosis and management of 365 ureteric injuries following obstetric and gynecologic surgery in resource-limited settings.

Ureteric injuries are among the most serious complications of pelvic surgery. The incidence in low-resource settings is not well documented.This retrospective review analyzes a cohort of 365 ureteric injuries with ureterovaginal fistulas in 353 women following obstetric and gynecologic operations in 11 countries in Africa and Asia, all low-resource settings. The patients with ureteric injury were stratified into three groups according to the initial surgery: (a) obstetric operations, (b) gynecologic operations, and (c) vesicovaginal fistula (VVF) repairs.The 365 ureteric injuries in this series comprise 246 (67.4%) after obstetric procedures, 65 (17.8%) after gynecologic procedures, and 54 (14.8%) after repair of obstetric fistulas. Demographic characteristics show clear differences between women with iatrogenic injuries and women with obstetric fistulas. The study describes abdominal ureter reimplantation and other treatment procedures. Overall surgical results were good: 92.9% of women were cured (326/351), 5.4% were healed with some residual incontinence (19/351), and six failed (1.7%).Ureteric injuries after obstetric and gynecologic operations are not uncommon. Unlike in high-resource contexts, in low-resource settings obstetric procedures are most often associated with urogenital fistula. Despite resource limitations, diagnosis and treatment of ureteric injuries is possible, with good success rates. Training must emphasize optimal surgical techniques and different approaches to assisted vaginal delivery.

Developing Process Maps as a Tool for a Surgical Infection Prevention Quality Improvement Initiative in Resource-Constrained Settings.

Surgical infections cause substantial morbidity and mortality in low-and middle-income countries (LMICs). To improve adherence to critical perioperative infection prevention standards, we developed Clean Cut, a checklist-based quality improvement program to improve compliance with best practices. We hypothesized that process mapping infection prevention activities can help clinicians identify strategies for improving surgical safety.We introduced Clean Cut at a tertiary hospital in Ethiopia. Infection prevention standards included skin antisepsis, ensuring a sterile field, instrument decontamination/sterilization, prophylactic antibiotic administration, routine swab/gauze counting, and use of a surgical safety checklist. Processes were mapped by a visiting surgical fellow and local operating theater staff to facilitate the development of contextually relevant solutions; processes were reassessed for improvements.Process mapping helped identify barriers to using alcohol-based hand solution due to skin irritation, inconsistent administration of prophylactic antibiotics due to variable delivery outside of the operating theater, inefficiencies in assuring sterility of surgical instruments through lack of confirmatory measures, and occurrences of retained surgical items through inappropriate guidelines, staffing, and training in proper routine gauze counting. Compliance with most processes improved significantly following organizational changes to align tasks with specific process goals.Enumerating the steps involved in surgical infection prevention using a process mapping technique helped identify opportunities for improving adherence and plotting contextually relevant solutions, resulting in superior compliance with antiseptic standards. Simplifying these process maps into an adaptable tool could be a powerful strategy for improving safe surgery delivery in LMICs.

Delayed access to care and unmet burden of pediatric surgical disease in resource-constrained African countries.

The purpose of this study was to estimate the unmet burden of surgically correctable congenital anomalies in African low- and middle-income countries (LMICs).We conducted a chart review of children operated for cryptorchidism, isolated cleft lip, hypospadias, bladder exstrophy and anorectal malformation at an Ethiopian referral hospital between January 2012 and July 2016 and a scoping review of the literature describing the management of congenital anomalies in African LMICs. Procedure numbers and age at surgery were collected to estimate mean surgical delays by country and extrapolate surgical backlog. The unmet surgical need was derived from incidence-based disease estimates, established disability weights, and actual surgical volumes.The chart review yielded 210 procedures in 207 patients from Ethiopia. The scoping review generated 42 data sets, extracted from 36 publications, encompassing: Benin, Egypt, Ghana, Ivory Coast, Kenya, Nigeria, Madagascar, Malawi, Togo, Uganda, Zambia, and Zimbabwe. The largest national surgical backlog was noted in Nigeria for cryptorchidism (209,260 cases) and cleft lip (4154 cases), and Ethiopia for hypospadias (20,188 cases), bladder exstrophy (575 cases) and anorectal malformation (1349 cases).These data support the need for upscaling pediatric surgical capacity in LMICs to address the significant surgical delay, surgical backlog, and unmet prevalent need.Retrospective study and review article LEVEL OF EVIDENCE: III.

International Study of the Epidemiology of Paediatric Trauma: PAPSA Research Study.

Objectives
Trauma is a significant cause of morbidity and mortality worldwide. The literature on paediatric trauma epidemiology in low- and middle-income countries (LMICs) is limited. This study aims to gather epidemiological data on paediatric trauma.

Methods
This is a multicentre prospective cohort study of paediatric trauma admissions, over 1 month, from 15 paediatric surgery centres in 11 countries. Epidemiology, mechanism of injury, injuries sustained, management, morbidity and mortality data were recorded. Statistical analysis compared LMICs and high-income countries (HICs).

Results
There were 1377 paediatric trauma admissions over 31 days; 1295 admissions across ten LMIC centres and 84 admissions across five HIC centres. Median number of admissions per centre was 15 in HICs and 43 in LMICs. Mean age was 7 years, and 62% were boys. Common mechanisms included road traffic accidents (41%), falls (41%) and interpersonal violence (11%). Frequent injuries were lacerations, fractures, head injuries and burns. Intra-abdominal and intra-thoracic injuries accounted for 3 and 2% of injuries. The mechanisms and injuries sustained differed significantly between HICs and LMICs. Median length of stay was 1 day and 19% required an operative intervention; this did not differ significantly between HICs and LMICs. No mortality and morbidity was reported from HICs. In LMICs, in-hospital morbidity was 4.0% and mortality was 0.8%.

Conclusion
The spectrum of paediatric trauma varies significantly, with different injury mechanisms and patterns in LMICs. Healthcare structure, access to paediatric surgery and trauma prevention strategies may account for these differences. Trauma registries are needed in LMICs for future research and to inform local policy.

Good results after Ponseti treatment for neglected congenital clubfoot in Ethiopia. A prospective study of 22 children (32 feet) from 2 to 10 years of age.

Neglected clubfoot deformity is a major cause of disability in low-income countries. Most children with clubfoot have little access to treatment in these countries, and they are often inadequately treated. We evaluated the effectiveness of Ponseti’s technique in neglected clubfoot in children in a rural setting in Ethiopia.A prospective study was conducted from June 2007 through July 2010. 22 consecutive children aged 2-10 years (32 feet) with neglected clubfoot were treated by the Ponseti method. The deformity was assessed using the Pirani scoring system. The average follow-up time was 3 years.A plantigrade functional foot was obtained in all patients by Ponseti casting and limited surgical intervention. 2 patients (4 feet) had recurrent deformity. They required re-manipulation and re-tenotomy of the Achilles tendon and 1 other patient required tibialis anterior transfer for dynamic supination deformity of the foot.This study shows that the Ponseti method with some additional surgery can be used successfully as the primary treatment in neglected clubfoot, and that it minimizes the need for extensive corrective surgery.

Provision of surgical care in Ethiopia: Challenges and solutions.

With the lowest measured rate of surgery in the world, Ethiopia is faced with a number of challenges in providing surgical care. The aim of this study was to elucidate challenges in providing safe surgical care in Ethiopia, and solutions providers have created to overcome them. Semi-structured interviews were conducted with 10 practicing surgeons in Ethiopia. Following de-identification and immersion into field notes, topical coding was completed with an existing coding manual. Codes were adapted and expanded as necessary, and the primary data analyst confirmed reproducibility with a secondary analyst. Qualitative analysis revealed topics in access to care, in-hospital care delivery, and health policy. Patient financial constraints were identified as a challenge to accessing care. Surgeons were overwhelmed by patient volume and frustrated by lack of material resources and equipment. Numerous surgeons commented on the inadequacy of training and felt that medical education is not a government priority. They reported an insufficient number of anaesthesiologists, nurses, and support staff. Perceived inadequate financial compensation and high workload led to low morale among surgeons. Our study describes specific challenges surgeons encounter in Ethiopia and demonstrates the need for prioritisation of surgical care in the Ethiopian health agenda. LCoGS: The Lancet Commission on Global Surgery; LMIC: low- and middle-income country.

Patterns and Causes of Amputation in Ayder Referral Hospital, Mekelle, Ethiopia: A Three-Year Experience

BACKGROUND:
Amputation is a surgical procedure for the removal of a limb which is indicated when limb recovery is impossible. There are different types of amputation, and their causes can vary from one area to the other. Therefor, the aim of this study is to find out the patterns and causes of amputations in patients presented to Ayder Referral Hospital, Mekelle, Ethiopia.

METHODS:
the record of 87 patients who had amputation at different sites after admission to Ayder referral hospital, Mekelle, Ethiopia in three years period were reviewed retrospectively.

RESULT:
A total of 87 patients had amputation of which 78.2% were males. The age range was from 3 to 95 years, and the mean age was 40.6 in years. The most common indications were trauma (37.7%), tumor (24.1%), and peripheral arterial disease (PAD) (20.7%). The commonest type of amputation was major lower limb amputation (58.6%) which includes above knee amputation (35.6%)and below knee amputation (23%) followed by digital amputation (17.2%). There was 11.4% major upper limb amputation of which there was one patient who had re-amputation.

CONCLUSION:
Most of the indications for amputations in our setup are potentially preventable by increasing awareness in the society on safety measures both at home and at work and early presentation to health facilities.

Conotruncal Heart Defect Repair in Sub-Saharan Africa: Remarkable Outcomes Despite Poor Access to Treatment.

Background:
The outcome of children born with conotruncal heart defects may serve as an indication of the status of pediatric cardiac care in sub-Saharan Africa (SSA). This study was undertaken to determine the outcome of children born with conotruncal anomalies in SSA, regarding access to treatment and outcomes of surgical intervention.

Methods:
From our institution in Ghana, we retrospectively analyzed the outcomes of surgery, in the two-year period from June 2013 to May 2015. The birth prevalence of congenital heart defects (CHDs) in SSA countries was derived by extrapolation using an incidence of 8 per 1,000 live births for CHDs.

Results:
The birth prevalence of CHDs for the 48 countries in SSA using 2013 country data was 258,875; 10% of these are presumed to be conotruncal anomalies. Six countries (Nigeria, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Ethiopia, Tanzania, Uganda, and Kenya) accounted for 53.5% of the birth prevalence. In Ghana, 20 patients (tetralogy of Fallot [TOF], 17; pulmonary atresia, 3) underwent palliation and 50 (TOF, 36; double-outlet right ventricle, 14) underwent repair. Hospital mortality was 0% for palliation and 4% for repair. Only 6 (0.5%) of the expected 1,234 cases of conotruncal defects underwent palliation or repair within two years of birth.

Conclusion:
Six countries in SSA account for more than 50% of the CHD burden. Access to treatment within two years of birth is probably <1%. The experience from Ghana demonstrates that remarkable surgical outcomes are achievable in low- to middle-income countries of SSA.